Independent panel to advise UP Council on language policy

Posted on May 25, 2016

Following an earlier decision of the Council of the University of Pretoria, an Independent Panel has been established to advise the Council on issues relating to transformation.

The Panel will function independently of the University's management and report directly to the Council at its meeting on 22 June 2016.  The Council is the University's highest decision making body. In terms of legislation, only the Council, with the agreement of the Senate, can determine the language policy of the University.

'It is important that we actively listen to all members of our community, including students, staff, management and external stakeholders as we grapple with the difficult issue of transformation,' said Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.

'The University will work with all stakeholders to formulate a language policy and inspire an institutional culture that is in line with the country's constitution and fulfils the needs of all its students,' said Professor de la Rey.

The Panel's immediate focus will be on the language policy. It will invite external and internal stakeholders to make written submissions to it.

The outcomes of the existing internal processes, like the work streams on transformation that were established after the Transformation Lekgotla held in March between student representatives and senior university management, will be submitted to the Panel. However, these will also feed into the University's existing structures, like the Institutional Forum, Senate and Council. All stakeholders are welcome to state their views to the Panel, besides the internal processes.

The Panel is chaired by Justice Johann van der Westhuizen, former judge of the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court. Ms Khanyisile Kweyama, CEO of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Brand South Africa; Dr Danie Langner, MD of the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK), MD of the NP van Wyk Louw Centre for Community Studies and leader of the Voortrekker movement; Professor Sheila Mmusi, Chairperson of the Setswana Language Commission of the Academy for African Languages (ACALAN) of the African Union, member of the Board of Directors of Plus94Research and Head of Department of Media Communication and Information Studies at the University of Limpopo; Judge Jeremiah Shongwe, Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal; and Professor Adam Small, philosopher, poet, dramatist and Hertzog prize winner, are the other members.

Written submissions can be sent to the Panel at [email protected] until 3 June 2016 at 16:00 pm. The Panel will issue more detail on its invitation for submissions.


- Author Department of University Relations

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